Third, Shelton is contributing against the pass. Last season and in the preseason, Shelton was unable to affect the passer. He played high and he failed to collapse the pocket. He would be seen standing in front of two players jumping up and down trying to deflect the pass. It looked pathetic.
Once again, teams were pass-blocking him one-on-one, which allowed the guards to help with the other interior linemen or blitzers. By failing to take up two players, Shelton was hurting the pass rush attack as a whole.
However, now Shelton is penetrating and causing havoc in the pocket for opposing quarterbacks. Admittedly, Shelton is often replaced on passing downs but when he is in, he is making an impact. Like this play below.
Here the Patriots try to one-on-one block Shelton. He is able to get penetration and do enough to move Tom Brady off his spot. Brady is a significantly less effective passer off his spot. Even though Shelton did not make a big hit or record a sack, his ability to pressure the quarterback and move him off a spot effectively disrupts the passing attack.
Shelton has proved he can defeat the offensive lineman on one-on-one blocks. Now, teams double-team Shelton in passing situations. Having to double Shelton opens lanes for blitzers and allows edge rushers to have one on one blocks themselves.
Yet, double-teaming Shelton in passing situations has not proven effective either.
Here Shelton takes on a double-team block. He effectively beats both linemen on his way to the quarterback. Brady gets the pass off but not before having the pocket collapse around him.
His ability to affect the passer has greatly improved. He is moving the quarterback off his spot, opening possibilities for sacks to edge rushers or blitzers. This is exactly the type of plays Danny Shelton was drafted to make.
The media and fans should now be aware that Danny Shelton is playing like an All-Pro. The run defense has improved dramatically due to Shelton’s play. He is a playmaker who is a force to be reckoned with in the interior of the defensive line.
Finally, a first-round draft pick that is panning out!